Finger Lakes Boating Museum Elects Officers

Trustees of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum that will be built on the Geneva waterfront in 2011 elected officers at their December Board of Trustees meeting.

Bill Oben of Bluff Point, a founding trustee, was re-elected as board president. Following a career in manufacturing management with Dupont and Kodak, he retired to Yates County where he has served on the boards of several other non-profit community organizations, including the Keuka Lake Association and the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society.

Also re-elected to one-year terms were: Ed Wightman of Hammondsport, vice president- Bill Smith of Pittsford and Branchport, secretary- and Dennis Karalow of Penn Yan, treasurer.

Wightman, a native of the Keuka Lake area, is a retired college professor. In his retirement he restores Finger Lakes wooden boats. He is a past president of the boating museum and is a board member of Wine Country Classic Boats.

Smith, a registered professional engineer, Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, retired from Malcolm Pirnie Env. Engrs. where he was responsible for design, construction and operation of water and wastewater utilities. A consultant in the environmental field, he teaches at RIT.

Karalow relocated to Penn Yan from Virginia where he was the owner and general manager of Connell’s Valet, a drycleaning business in Vienna, VA., for 30 years.

The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva last fall to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with the Visitor Center. The building, which will be located on the current Chamber of Commerce site, is being enabled by a $3.5 million grant provided to the city by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio. Construction is expected to start this spring.

The other members of the 14-member Board of Trustees are Phil Beckley of Geneva, Dave Bunnell of Geneva, Mayor Stu Einstein of Geneva, City Manager Matt Horn of Geneva, Scott Johnson of Hornell, Sam Pennise of Hammondsport, Vince Scalise of Geneva, Keith Toaspern of Penn Yan, Al Wahlig of Hammondsport and Chris Bennett-West of Pultneyville.

The following committee chairs will serve in 2011: Collections, Oben- Communications, Beckley- Finance, Karalow- Membership, Wightman- Nominating, Wahlig- Resource Development, Scalise- and Site Development, Oben.

The boating museum has assembled a collection of more than 100 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. The collection is stored in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva IDA and in Yates County.

Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility, but President Oben emphasized that there will be a lot more to the museum than viewing boats because education, restoration and preservation are the key elements of the museum’s mission.

Also featured will be boat rides on Seneca Lake, active on-water programs including sailing and small boat handling, interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design and construction of boats and boating history materials and programs.

The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”

Additional information about the boating museum may be found on its website.

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